Monday, March 3, 2014


 By Angeline M Duran Santiago

For about two years, my son had told me he wanted to be a football player. It runs in our veins to love sports, and my brothers love for football had rubbed on my boys as well. I lived in an area where the only sport was baseball, and after putting him to play for two years, he was not enjoying himself, not to mention the coaches were not really dedicated to their team or games. Constant game cancellations and Saturdays wasted on waiting for game to end up being cancelled discouraged us all.

My daughter decided to Google football to see if we could make Jacob's dream a reality. She found a league, 
The Queens Falcons, that promised to provide everything and more Jacob wanted. I was afraid I would not be able to meet the financial demands for him to participate, so off to work and saving I went for a whole year. 

 While I saved and promised my son he would join in 2013, the negative people began to appear in my life. The words of encouragement I needed became sentences filled with doubt, warning, and fear. I was reminded of all the risks I was taking and the danger to my son. I was reminded, (as if I didn't know) that my son is a Type 1 Diabetic. "What will you do if he gets a low while playing?" "What if he starts getting asthma while he's running?" "Don't you know the running around can make him drop into a coma?" "How will you make sure he has juice and something in case he feels sick while his levels drop?" "What if...?" "What if...? I was like, "STTTTOPPPP!!!!"

As a diligent mom, I turned to the best resources to prove to those that wanted me to turn my son away from football they were wrong. I turned to his doctor who gladly wrote a letter of Jacob's ability to participate. (1 point for us) I turned to my family and they were supportive and promised to cheer him on. (2 points now) But, above all, I turned to God in prayer. He gave me such a peace that His presence silenced every opposition. 

I will not lie, that I was really on top of things the first few weeks. It was a very huge learning experience as I had to retrain myself on many things I thought I knew and of course, didn't know. I had to learn how to make sure his sugar was at a good level before practicing or playing. Many times he had to sit down. In the beginning, he would throw up a lot and I learned how to best prepare him so he wouldn't have high blood sugar but was stable.

My son missed two games. He was beyond able to get up and go, but in his heart and mind he was out there with his teammates. He played one game while feeling sick and pushed himself til he had to sit down. We checked him and saw he had a high fever and took him to the hospital right away. He was very sick, but as soon as he pulled through, he was back on the field.

I am grateful for the men God placed in my son's life during Jacob's first year in football, 2013. They were men who not only lived and breathed football, but they encouraged him, pushed him to believe for greatness, and dared him to reach for infinity and beyond.  He looked forward to practice, to games, to going to camp and just being with his new friends. I am thankful for my brother Alex who took time to add encouragement, support and lots of advice for the field.

Type 1 Diabetes, Asthma, or any physical condition is not a limitation or a reason to sit down and stop living life. Excluding my son from football would have been his downfall. This year, my son has barely rested looking forward to rejoining the Queens Falcons. He won two trophies as the season ended and I knew that even if all he'd receive was a congratulations, my son was and is a winner. Coach Al shared awesome words that proved my son belonged in this sport.

If you have a child with Type 1 Diabetes, Asthma or any medical condition, and your child wants to be in sports, do not discourage them or keep them on the sidelines watching all the other kids live their lives happily. Educate yourself on how to best support your child and reach out to the Coaches, work together and watch your child blossom with confidence and joy!

To me, my son is a star! Every parent believes their child is the best and that's great! Had I listened to the negative people that I shared with about my plans, I would've never seen the warrior in my son take his place. You know, we can't share our dreams and ideas with everyone. Many people have the gift of killing dreams and plans. Surround yourself with people of faith that will walk with you in the good times and the not so great! 

 I end it here, Football, here we come! Jacob's ready! 
Lord, one more season, trusting in You! He's in Your hands. 

Thank you, to all the Coaches in Queens Falcons and Gotham who were in my son's life during the 2013 season. 

Thank you for working with my son and never seeing limits, walls or barriers. 
Thank you for seeing just one more boy ready to learn and play. 
May the Lord use you all powerfully in 2014. 
You will never know the blessing you all are!

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